Have you had those iconic Danish Butter Cookies in the blue tin? I am happy to say that the homemade version are even better and they are easy to make at home with only 4 simple ingredients which you probably already have on hand!
It takes just a few minutes to whip up a batch of these cookies and they are perfect for gifts, cookie trays, or anytime you want a buttery delicious cookie! These cookies are great for the holiday season and all year long!
Homemade Danish Butter Cookies are a type of shortbread cookies, meaning they do not contain any leavening agents like baking powder or baking soda. The secret to making these cookies is the balance of the butter, flour, and sugar and this recipe is simple perfection!
Suggested Kitchen Tools Butter Cookies
- Stand Mixer or Hand Held Electric Mixer
- Baking Sheet Trays
- Scoop or Piping Bag with Large Open Star Tip
- Sifter or Fine Mesh Sieve for Sifting Powdered Sugar
Ingredients & Substitutions
With just 4 basic ingredients you can make the BEST butter cookies. This recipe has been tested using only the ingredients listed below and, for the best outcome, I do not recommend any substitutions except for the extract. You can switch that up to create various flavored cookies.
Believe it or not, the type of sugar you use makes a huge difference in these butter cookies. You will want to use powdered sugar which is also called confectioner's sugar or icing sugar. While most cookies use granulated sugar, this recipe needs the consistency of powdered sugar to hold the shape of the butter cookie when they are either piped out on the baking tray or scooped out and flattened into a disc shape.
If you don't have confectioner's sugar, you can easily make it at home by blending granulated sugar in a high-speed blender until it becomes a light powder. Usually, about ¾ cup of granulated sugar will give you about 1 cup (or a little more) of powdered sugar.
It is also important that you measure the powdered sugar AFTER sifting it for the correct ratio of sugar to flour and butter in the recipe. What this means is you will scoop out about 1 cup of powdered sugar and then sift it to remove any clumps and measure out 1 cup. There will be a little powdered sugar left over after sifting and you can return that to your container of powdered sugar or discard it.
I have not tried this recipe with artificial sweeteners, but if you want to try it, I recommend using Swerve powdered sugar.
All-purpose flour is what I used in this recipe and that is what I recommend using.
I have not tested the recipe with any other kind of flour and do not know how it will turn out with substitutions.
When you are making a recipe with so few ingredients, each one is important for the outcome, and changing the type of flour could result in a completely different texture of the cookie.
I used salted butter in this recipe, but unsalted can also be used. If you use unsalted butter, I would add about ¼ teaspoon of kosher or fine-grind sea salt to the flour mix. I used regular American grocery store butter in this recipe, but you can use a better quality butter like Kerrygold Irish Butter if you prefer.
This recipe will not work the same if you use margarine or another oil-based butter because the cookies will spread too much.
Vanilla Extract or Paste
While this ingredient is optional, I find adding just a little vanilla flavor really gives the cookies a wonderful flavor.
I used my homemade vanilla paste, but vanilla extract will work the same and you would use the same amount. If you use vanilla paste, you will have specks of vanilla bean in the cookies, which I love; but it does change the look of the cookies.
If you want your cookies to look just like the butter cookies in the tin, use vanilla extract.
You can also switch up the flavor of the cookies by using almond extract or another extract flavor that you love. I think orange butter cookies would also be delicious!
Tips for Making Danish Butter Cookies
- Don't line your baking pans with parchment paper. The parchment paper slows the baking process down just a tad and gives the cookies too much time to soften before setting up, resulting in more spreading.
- Adjust your baking time as needed and remove the cookies from the oven right when the edges start to turn golden brown.
- When using a pastry bag to pipe the cookies, only fill it about halfway and this will make it easier to pipe out the cookies. The dough is pretty stiff and it can be quite difficult to pipe them out with a full pastry bag of cookie dough.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Allow your butter and eggs to come to room temperature which will allow them to mix together easier and more uniformly.
How to Make Danish Butter Cookies
Mise En Place (prep)
Take your butter out of the refrigerator about 4 hours before making the cookies so it can come to room temperature.
Sift the powdered sugar until you have 1 cup. The measurement for the powdered sugar is AFTER sifting.
Just before you start to make the cookie dough, preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃.
Make the Butter Cookie Dough
Add the room-temperature butter to the bowl of your stand mixer along with the sifted powdered sugar. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the powdered sugar starts to combine with the butter. Then increase the speed to medium-high speed for a few seconds and then up to high speed for about 1 minute.
You can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a silicone or rubber spatula and continue to mix on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the butter and sugar mixture lightens up and becomes fluffy and light.
Add in the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and mix on low until incorporated.
With the mixer running on low speed, add about ⅓ of the flour and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat with the remaining flour in 2 separate additions for 3 additions of flour total.
Scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix on low speed for just bout 30 seconds.
If you want to use cookie cutters to form the cookies, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Then roll it between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to the thickness you want for your cookies and cut out into different shapes.
Piping the Cookie Dough
To make one of the designs in the store-bought butter cookies I use a large open star tip with a pastry bag. This is not necessary so do not worry one bit if you don't have a large star tip.
If you have any large piping tip you can give it a try and see what designs you can make or simply use a (affiliate link)small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to form little round cookies.
Attach the piping tip you want to use, and fill your pastry bag with the cookie dough about ½ way and squeeze out any air. The dough is stiff, so don't fill the bag too full or it will be very hard to squeeze out and make the designs.
Make small circles on your baking sheet. Butter cookies are typically small cookies, so make them about 2" in diameter. They will only spread a small amount.
To make circle cookies, put about 1 Tablespoon of cookie dough on the baking sheet pan and press it down into a disc shape. I also like to go around the sides to make a clean disc shape.
If you want, you can sprinkle some granulated sugar on top of the butter cookies before baking.
Using Parchment Paper to line your cookie sheets will result in a softer butter cookie
Baking the Butter Cookies
Once the cookies are on the baking tray, place the tray on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake at 350℉/175℃ for 12 minutes*.
Remove the tray from the oven when the butter cookies start to get golden brown on the edges and let them cool on the tray for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to the cooling rack to cool completely.
* Oven temperatures and baking times depend on your oven so adjust the timing accordingly. The butter cookies are done when they just start to brown on the edges.
If you are making little discs of cookies instead of piping them out, you may want to increase your baking time by a few minutes because they tend to be thicker.
Enjoy your butter cookies!
Once the cookies have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container at room temperature and they will last about a week before they start to soften.
You can store the cookies in the refrigerator as long as they are in an airtight container, but I prefer to either freeze them or store them at room temperature.
You can store the butter cookies in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
The amount of cookies you get out of a batch depends on how big you make them. I usually get about 40 cookies for each batch.
Yes, you can; however, keep an eye on them and, if the top rack is baking quicker than the bottom rack, you may want to switch them around after about 8 minutes of baking time.
Certainly! You could add some colored sugar on top before baking or even some sprinkles.
More Dessert Recipes!
If you are looking to create a diverse and beautiful cookie and candy tray, here are some easy and delicious recipes.
Danish Butter Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup butter, salted room temperature
- 1 cup sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar Measure after sifting
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/175℃
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large mixing bowl combine the butter and the sifted powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until the powdered sugar combines with the butter and then increase the speed to medium high for about 1 minute.1 cup butter, salted, 1 cup sifted powdered (confectioner's) sugar
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on high speed until the butter and sugar have lightened in color and the mixture is light and airy. This takes about 1-2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add about ⅓ of the flour and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add another ⅓ of flour and mix until incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix until incorporated.
- Assemble the pastry bag with a large open star tip and fill the bag about ½ way with the cookie dough. Pipe small circles about 2" in diameter onto the cookie sheet pan about 2" apart. OR, use a small scoop or Tablespoon and place each scoop about 2" apart, then press down to create a round disc.
- Bake at 350℉/175℃ for 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for about 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let them cool completely.
- Serve & Enjoy!
StorageOnce completely cooled store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week or freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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